My 2021 Bookish (and not so Bookish) Goals

Wow, we are finally finished with 2020, and now we get to start it all over again. I’m back again with my bookish and not so bookish goals. They’re going to be very similar to the goals I had in 2020, since 2020 was quite a mess of a year. Anywho, here are my goals for 2021!

Bookish Goals

  • Read 100 books
  • Read 1 nonfiction book a month
  • Read a wider variety of genres
  • Have consistent and steady growth on my Blog and my Instagram
  • Post at least 5 posts/photos a week.
  • Use my library more
  • Spend less money on books
  • Read all the unread books on my shelves before buying more (fat chance)

Not So Bookish Goals

  • Graduate College (!!!!) This is one from last year, as my graduation had to be pushed back a semester.
  • Keep up with daily (unbiased) news
  • Pay off $3k in student loan debt
  • Travel to at least -one- new to me place
  • Get back up to Maine (once COVID is over, hopefully in the Autumn)

What are your goals for 2021? How do you plan on attaining them?

~Cam

My 2020 Bookish (and not so Bookish) Goals

Now that we are a day into 2020, I have a list of my bookish and not so bookish goals for the year. I want to be able to look back on this and see if I was able to actually accomplish any of these. I won’t be upset if I don’t accomplish one of them, but these are just things I want to get done in 2020.

Bookish Goals

  • Read 100 books
  • Read 1 nonfiction book a month
  • Read a wider variety of genres
  • Have consistent and steady growth on my blog and
  • consistent and steady growth on my bookstagram as well
  • Start a reading journal
  • Start writing more concise reviews
  • Use my library more
  • Spend less money on books
  • Read all the unread books on my shelves before buying more (fat chance)

Not So Bookish Goals

  • Graduate College (!!!!)
  • Finish writing my First Draft of Blood and Stars (working title)
  • Keep up with daily (unbiased) news
  • Pay off $3k in student loan debt
  • Get that coveted internship spot
  • Keep up with my bullet journal
  • Get a job that relates to my degree (web and software development)
  • Travel to at least -one- new to me place
  • Brew coffee at home more vs buying coffee out every single day (oops)

What are your goals for 2020? How do you plan on attaining them?

~Cam

Book Review: The Grace Year


Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Kim Liggett
  • Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
  • Page Count: 404
  • Date Started: December 4th
  • Date Finished:
  • Spoilers?: Yes. Sort of?

A Brief Description

SURVIVE THE YEAR.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

Goodreads || Amazon


My Review

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett is pitched as a pinch of The Handmaid’s Tale, a bit of Hunger Games and a feminist Lord of the Flies. While I see all of these elements, I feel like it falls a little bit short of being “feminist”, at least for me.

I’m conflicted, because I really wanted to love this story, but parts of it fell flat for me.

In Garner County, girls who turn 16 are thought to possess the magic to entice grown men and make older women jealous, so to combat this, they are sent to an isolated camp to release their magic into the wild for a year. Some will return, and when they do they are considered purified and ready for marriage.

The story follows Tierney James, a girl from Garner County during her grace year. Tierney is known as “Tierney the Terrible” in her group of grace girls. She has never really fit in, and in Garner County this can be incredibly dangerous. Women are only seen as possessions, property to their husbands. Right before being sent off for their grace years, many of the young girls are married off to other men in the community. Many times, these men are significantly older than the young girls they are marrying. The girls also have no say in -who- they marry. All is chosen by the men in the county and their fathers. Not only that, but being “veiled” is seen as the upmost priority. If you are not veiled you will return to the county and work in indentured servitude in other areas of the county, which is seen as ‘less-than’ when compared to being a wife.

So we have a very oppressive government, filled with men who seem to believe that they own the women around them. Women are not allowed to do anything without the permission of their husbands. Husbands are allowed to accuse their wives of indecencies, use of magic, of anything really, and condemn them to death if they see fit. All of this done in the name of religion. Women in the county must be pure and subservient above all else.

You get the picture.

Tierney, not really liked by the girls in the county has one male friend named Michael. On her “veiling day” she does not expect to get a veil, but does, from Michael, who of course has always loved her. She takes offense to this, as it is not what she wants. She even -told- Michael that she did not to be a wife and had resigned herself to never getting married. Tierney was a little bit bone-headed and didn’t really think of things before she did them. She would think “maybe I shouldn’t do this thing” and then she would do the thing, and wonder why it blew up in her face.

To add to this, it throws a gasoline on to the fire due to Michael having promised to marry one of the other girls who is a grace girl with Tierney. Her name is Kiersten, and she almost seemed like a caricature mean girl. I don’t understand why she hated Tierney, and all the other girls for that matter as much as she did. She was mean, petty and caused the death of multiple other girls, just for funsies. Kiersten was just a villain to be a villain. While Tierney was attempting to help the group of girls survive, Kiersten attempts to sabotage every single one of those attempts which just led to chaos. I just can’t fathom why this girl would destroy buckets that Tierney made for the purpose of collecting rain water. I just…

Whew.

Okay…. so the story itself, the world, nothing was really explained… at all. You were thrown in and were told nothing about what time period the story takes place in, why they think women have magic, why poachers chase the young girls -yep-, or why the poachers take women apart, piece by piece, to be used as “fountain of youths” by the others in the county. I think the author was trying to add an air of mystique or mystery, but it just ended up seeming like it wasn’t fleshed out enough or like the plot itself was hazy.

The plot makes it seem like you’ll have girls rising up against this oppressive county that has been keeping them down for so long, like you’ll have women finally rising up, and like -some- revolution should be taking place. That happens, at the very end of the story, and it happened in such a way that it was entirely unexpected, but in a good way. I tacked on that extra .5 stars because of the ending if I am being completely honest. The ending was executed in a way that it all came together just right. But…here’s the thing though, the rescues that took place in the book were all by men, one man in particular.

A poacher named Ryker, who Tierney ends up in an insta-love relationship with. Half of the time that Tierney and Ryker spend together are after Ryker rescues her and nurses her back to health on a promise that he made her father a year earlier. The moment she knows she wants to “be with him” are after he sees his face. Not to mention that Ryker is a man who was literally HUNTING her and the other girls with her. He refers to her as -prey- for 100 pages of a 400 page book. And it was insta-love and had absolutely no build-up at all. It just didn’t feel like the love was ratcheted up correctly. It felt rather hazy and almost like the romance was just tacked on after the rest of the book had been written.

This book had so much potential, but it just fell flat for me unfortunately.


Have you read this? Did you like it? What were your thoughts? Let’s discuss below!

~Cam

Book Review: Fountains of Silence


Rating: 4 out of 5.

  • Author: Ruta Sepetys
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Page Count: 475
  • Date Started: December 1st
  • Date Finished: December 4th

A Brief Description

A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

Goodreads || Amazon


The Review

Okay. The atmosphere in this book was pretty great. You could feel the cold hand of Franco’s reign wrapping tighter around the characters as you read this.

The story of Ana, Puri, Daniel and Rafa really sticks with you.

Daniel Matheson, son of an American oil tycoon and a Spanish immigrant is an aspiring photographer who is visiting Spain with his parents. He comes with these ideas of what Spain is, mainly what the Francisco regime has told Americans and the world what Spain is, but finds a very different Spain exists for its inhabitants. One of the inhabitants of Spain is a young girl, a maid in the hotel he is staying in, named Ana.

Ana, a girl with secrets, works at the Castellana Hilton hotel, meets Daniel when she is assigned to his family.

Rafa, Ana’s older brother seemed almost… like a caricature? He has an interesting past, and has a friend who wants nothing more than to be a torero, a matador… but again, I feel like his character was very much a caricature.

Puri, Ana and Rafa’s cousin, is a nun who works at an orphanage, who begins to uncover some very unflattering things that are being done by the Franco regime involving children.

While all the characters were given colorful histories, I felt almost as if the surrounding areas were put on the back burner. The author captured Francoist Spain very well. The juxtaposition between the “American quarter”, or what I would describe as the “tourist area” of Spain and the area where tourists visited versus the areas where Spaniards actually lived very well. The tourist areas were described very richly, and had vibrancy, while the areas where natives lived were rundown and very crowded.

The author used snippets and clips of propoganda that was used in Francoist Spain to subjugate the people. For example, the Sección Femenina, which is the Women’s Section, told women that they were inferior to men and that they belonged in the home and in the role of being a mother. This is based mainly on extremist religious and Catholic beliefs, but this is what guided Franco. No other religions were allowed to be practiced in the open. This included weddings and funerals. Any Republican (those that were aligned against Franco and his government) were tortured, imprisoned, killed, or all three.

That being said, where was the flamenco? Where was the music? Where was the bright Spain that I grew up hearing about from my mom? (Who also grew up in Franco’s Spain).

In addition, this story was slow. It took a while for the characters to get to where they needed to go and the story almost seemed to end abruptly and it left me hanging with quite a few story strands.

All of this being said, I enjoyed this story and would recommend reading this if you have any interest in Francoist Spain, or even if you just enjoy historical fiction!


Have you read this? What did you think?

~Cam

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over on Taking on a World of Words.

The idea is pretty simple, every week you dedicate a post to the three W’s:

What are you currently reading?

What have you just finished reading?

What are you going to read next?

What am I currently reading?

The Grace Year- Kim Liggett

I just started reading this, so I don’t have many thoughts on this one quite yet. Have you read it yet? What did you think?

What have I just finished reading?

The Fountains of Silence- Ruta Sepetys

I enjoyed this one, but it left some things lacking. I’m going to go more into this when I review it. Look out for my review soon!

What am I going to read next?

The Fever King- Victoria Lee

I’ve heard so many good things about this book, and I am beyond excited to start it. I’ve had it on my shelf for a while, and the cover is amazing!

What books did you just finish, start, or are in the middle of currently reading! Did you participate in WWW? If you did, please link yours in the comments!

Much love, have a great day, and as always, keep reading.

~Cam

Tropes I Dislike

I’ve posted on my blog previous about tropes I love so I figured it was time to talk about some of the ones I dislike. I should add a disclaimer here and say that just because I dislike these does not mean that you can’t love them. I just want to be clear that these are tropes that *I* don’t like to read. If you have any recommendations for books that might change my mind, please recommend them! ❤


The Love Triangle

I realize that this is a very popular, I just don’t enjoy the drama of it. I want to read a story that has romance as a part of it, not necessarily follow the dramas of a “him/her, but no him/her too?” romance? Does that make any sense?


The “Abusive” Romanticized Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Do I need to explain why I don’t like this one? This is the trope where the romantic partner, usually a boyfriend, is very controlling, rude, yells, and is generally and abusive ass-hat, but it is seen as romantic. He is seen instead as caring and protective, and passionate. I particularly don’t appreciate the fact that there is a large portion of young-adult and new-adult romances that feature this trope.


Soft Magic Systems

This is magic systems that doesn’t have hard rules. The magic is just willy nilly. Someone uses some magic that you never knew they had, that they just used for the first time, right in the nick of time, and they succeed? Soft magic system. Someone has unlimited power, with no checks, and no practice? Soft magic system. I like magic systems that have rules and that sticks by those rules, even if it makes life hard for the characters. I feel like this also makes it so that the character has to really think outside of the box on how to overcome their obstacle.


“I’m Not Like Other Girls”

This trope is one I dislike because it feels like a “pick-me.” It feels like a girl saying “Oh, I don’t like dresses” or “I don’t like pink” or “I don’t wear makeup” or whatever other things the author thinks are, first of all, only something women can enjoy, second of all, are something that makes someone less-than due to that enjoyment. You like pink? Cool, you can still be an interesting character. You like makeup? Cool, you can still be an interesting character. You like fashion? Cool! You can still be an interesting character. Same goes for you as a person by the way.


These are just some of the tropes that I dislike. What are some tropes that you dislike, and why? Do we share any of those?

I want to reiterate: Just because I don’t like these does not mean that you can’t. We can love and dislike different things.

Have a wonderful day and as always keep reading ❤

~Cam

Book Review: The Final Empire


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Page Count:
  • Date Started: September 14th
  • Date Finished: September 28th

A Brief Description

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?
In Brandon Sanderson’s intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage— Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

Goodreads || Amazon(US)


Our belief is often strongest when it should be weakest. That is the nature of hope.

Brandon Sanderson
pg 495

A Review


The Writing

Long story short? I loved it. I loved every minute of this. I truly love Brandon Sanderson’s writing due to how simple, yet atmospheric it is. You really feel like you are in the city of Luthadel. Almost like you can smell the streets and feel the ash falling on your skin. The action sequences make you feel like you are there watching them happen, like you can hear the crunch and slap of punches on skin. I love how Sanderson’s writing is also simplistic. It’s easy to devour and it’s easy to follow. Most fantasy novels tend to be dense and take me a long time to finish due the density, but Sanderson’s writing is nothing like this. It’s easy to follow, but it still enraptures me.


Characters

The characters in this are all very distinct and have their own motives. Vin, one of the main protagonists and a Mistborn, while naive and unlikeable at times was overall a very well written character. You could feel her pain and how much she had struggled in life. Her motives were clear and she really grew into her and her powers. Kelsier, another of the main protagonists and a Mistborn, was arrogant. He was arrogant and put himself and others at risk for the sake of his plans, but all that being said, I love him. He was well written and had very clear motives for overthrowing The Lord Ruler and destroying the Final Empire.

This book had A LOT of characters. There were many more that I won’t go into here, but I loved them all. They each had very distinct and clear motivations and very clear voices. You could tell when one character was speaking due to the voice and candor that they had. Some stories struggle with the characters all sounding a like and this book was definitely not one of them.


Plot

This book probably had the best fight scenes I have ever read. The plot is easy to follow and was predictable until it wasn’t. Sometimes there was a wrench thrown in there that changed everything. Those are spoilers which I’m not going into in this review. That being said, I loved the plot of this. It was interesting to see the way that the events that occurred in the 600 or so pages of this book changed each of the characters. The twists and turns were unexpected but were not outside the realm of reason. I’m not going to go farther into this because I think it’s best to go into this particular book without knowing much else.


Final Thoughts

Have you read The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson? What did you think of it? Did you enjoy it? Have you read anything by Brandon Sanderson that you would recommend? I hope you have a wonderful day, and as always, keep reading! 🙂

~Cam

October: To Be Read

It’s finally October! This is the perfect time to read some spooky books and thrillers! I had a busy month last month in September, and I don’t think that it’s going to let up any time soon, but I still have an extremely ambitious TBR. I know that school is going to keep me incredibly busy, but I am very very excited about some of the books below!

The Diviners- Libba Bray
House of Salt and Sorrows- Erin A. Craig
Into the Drowning Deep- Mira Grant
The Turn of the Key- Ruth Ware
The Well of Ascension- Brandon Sanderson
Ninth House- Leigh Bardugo
Radio Silence- Alice Oseman

The Greatest Show on Earth- Richard Dawkins
After the Flood- Kassandra Montag
An Unkindness of Magicians- Kat Howard
Marrow Charm- Kristin Jacques
Rebecca- Daphne du Maurier
The Future of Humanity- Michio Kaku

What will you be planning to read in October? Are we reading any of the same books? Have you already read any of the books I’m reading? Let’s discuss, and remember, as always, to keep reading 🙂

~Cam

WWW Wednesday- September 25th, 2019

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

This is a re-read for me. I love Brandon Sanderson and all of the books I’ve read from him. This is such an interesting concept. This is a story that has loss, love, despair and hope. It has everything that I love. The characters are dynamic and well fleshed out. I’m also planning on re-reading the second book in the series, The Well of Ascension, very shortly after I finish this one.


Recently Finished Reading

Okay, this is a book that I was super excited to read and I was not disappointed! This is a story of a witch and a witch hunter who are forced into holy matrimony and the chaos that ensues.

I really enjoyed this book. I felt like the development of characters and their romance was developed well. It was definitely not insta-love and I found myself rooting for them at the end. Some of the twists were a little out of nowhere, but I still enjoyed myself while reading.


Reading Next

This is the sequel to the book I’m currently reading. This will also be a re-read for me, but I don’t remember any of it. I’m excited to continue immersing myself in the world. I will be reading the third book, Hero of Ages, for the first time and I’m excited to see what the conclusion to this trilogy is.

What are you reading? What did you just finish reading? What are you planning on reading next?

I hope you have a wonderful day, and as always, happy reading.

~Cam

Book Review: Darkdawn


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Jay Kristoff
  • Genre: Adult Fantasy
  • Page Count: 478
  • Date Started: 9/3/2019
  • Date Finished: 9/8/2019
  • Spoilers? YES. Steer clear if you don’t want to be spoiled

A Brief Description

This is the third book in the Nevernight Chronicles series. There WILL be spoilers ahead. Tread with caution, gentlefriends.

A ruthless young assassin’s journey for revenge comes to a stunning end in the conclusion of this acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy.

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?

Goodreads || Amazon


What doesn’t kill me had better fucking run

Jay Kristoff
pg 97

My Review

Wow wow wow wow. What a conclusion! I loved this. First of all, the cover for this book is beautiful. When I opened the package I was surprised to find that I had received a signed first edition! Now, on to my review: I cried, I smiled and laughed, and cried some more. I knew that characters would die, but each death gutted me more than the last. I hadn’t realized how attached I had gotten to each and every single one of the characters in Mia’s circle. There was some major character development that both Mia and her brother Jonnen underwent. I love how their relationship blossomed from hatred, to tolerance, to love. While I hated Jonnens’ character at first, I grew to love him as time went on. I loved the relation that formed with Eclipse and I was devastated with Eclipse’s conclusion. I think it was the death I cried the most on after Ashlinn’s of course. There were many plot twists that had me on the edge of my seat and craving more. When I wasn’t reading this book, I was THINKING about reading this book. The pacing was pretty good, and it felt logical. Also, I was not expecting Mercurio to be the narrator! I was expecting someone like Mister Kindly, but imagine my surprise, when instead it’s Mercurio (who I still loved by the way). I loved the action and fight sequences in this as they felt high stakes and well orchestrated. The quotes that stood out to me in this book were about empowerment an coping with loss. I loved every second of this book. I cannot recommend this series enough, and I know for a fact that this series will be a treasured favorite and I will re-read it many times.


Blessings and curses fall on the wicked and the just alike. Fair is a fairy tale. Nothing’s claimed by those who don’t want it, and nothing’s kept by those who won’t fight for it. So let’s fight. Fuck the gods. Fuck it all. Let’s take the world by the throat and make it gives us what we want.

Jay Kristoff

One thing I will say about this is that the ending of the book…. will be very controversial to some. I liked the closure that we were given and the way that everything was wrapped up, but I realize that others may not feel this way. What did you think of Darkdawn? Did you like it? Love it? Hate it? Let’s discuss below! As always, have a wonderful day, and happy reading! 🙂

~Cam